As of the Oct. 8 deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy, more than 60 citizens of the Republic want to be president to solve our problems, current and perennial. Having accepted their applications, Comelec assured voters that they are all qualified.
Not necessarily quality candidates, but simply qualified. On the basis of citizenship, age, residency, literacy, they’re free to offer their sacrifices and serve the country. The rules don’t say anything about IQ, state of physical and mental health, problem-solving abilities, certainly nothing about their success in their work nor the need to establish their bloodline.
Theoretically, any Tom, Dick, and Harry, Juan and Juana is welcome. As the sitting President has more than once complained, it’s a punishing job that doesn’t pay well, definitely much less than what a senior banker gets for sitting in his corner office on the top floor of their building.
On the other side of the great divide, facing those presidential and vice presidential bets are the millions of voters who will judge their candidates using a similarly undemanding yardstick. Which candidates do I like? That’s all there is to it. As simple as the law makes it for a citizen to dream of being head of state, there’s no law against a voter choosing his or her bet just because they like that person.
Analysts will burn the midnight oil trying to read the candidates according to the latest survey, their accomplishments and how these have been perceived by the people, their popularity or fame against other candidates’; they will compare performance versus image versus name recall. At the end of the day, what is the X factor? In one word, likeableness; it’s the whole package.
I have not read a single thesis scrutinizing how likeableness helps a candidate, but if experience serves, both as a voter and journalist who talks with and listens to other people, voters vote for someone from a distance or from up close because they like him or her, forget the “intelligent” reasons for choosing the “right” winner. Liking is instinctive, perhaps intuitive.
One rule I learned from working in television. If you hate or dislike someone, the more you watch them on TV, the more you’ll hate them.